Target Debuts Mobile Pay

Randy Hofbauer
Digital and Technology Editor
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Target Corp. has added mobile-wallet capabilities to its namesake mobile app, allowing gusts to pay for purchases with a Target Redcard and save with Cartwheel with one scan of a phone.

The new Wallet option offers payment up to four times faster than other types, along with combining digital savings of Cartwheel offers and weekly ad coupons with the 5 percent Redcard discount. In August, Target announced the merger of its Cartwheel savings app into its namesake app, noting that it eventually planned to offer the Wallet mobile-pay capability.

Moreover, guests soon will be able to store and redeem Target gift cards with the new feature.

“Wallet in the Target app makes checkout easier and faster than ever,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer. “Guests are going to love the convenience of having payment, Cartwheel offers, weekly ad coupons and gift cards all in one place with Wallet.”

While other mobile payment options such as Apple Pay rely on near-field communication (NFC) to make contactless transactions, Target’s Wallet solution uses generated QR codes for scanning. Currently, other NFC-enabled services such as Apple Pay aren't usable in stores, although Apple’s service itself can be used in the Target app for online purchases.

Other food retailers this year bringing mobile-payment technology to stores include Walmart, which has continued expanding its Scan & Pay checkout-free technology via smartphones while adding features to the Walmart app for pay-by-phone in the pharmacy, and even Aldi, which now accepts all forms of contact-free payment, including Android Pay and Apple Pay, in its stores nationwide.

Recent research performed by Progressive Grocer and sister brand RIS Newsfound that most grocers consider new payment alternatives a worthy investment, with roughly six in 10 saying so. However, adoption has been lackluster of late: Recent Bank of America data show that at grocery stores, mobile wallets are responsible for paying only $1 of every $148 spent. In Target's favor, including coupons, digital savings and other offers with the mobile-payment option corresponds with what many experts are recommending: Grocers looking to drive mobile pay can do so by providing the incentives that customers desire most.